Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (2024)

Never buy lemon curd from the store again! No really, don’t, it’s gross. And making it at home is so easy! This lemon curd is creamy, tart, and perfect for topping your toast. Or topping your spoon.Originally published July 10, 2015.

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (1)
Table of Contents
  1. This recipe for Lemon Curd is so tart and creamy!
  2. Best Lemon Curd ingredients
  3. How to Make Lemon Curd
  4. Easy Lemon Curd Recipe tips
  5. Best Lemon Curd Recipe storage
  6. Lemon Curd Recipe FAQs
  7. You might like these recipes too!
  8. Lemon Curd Recipe

Last night Eric and I were sitting around the dining room table eating ice cream withhis family. There was a lull in the conversation, so Aunt Joy poked her 9-year-old son Blake. “Tell us a joke, Blake.” Mumble mumble mumble. “What?”

“They wouldn’t be appropriate for the table.” 9 YEARS OLD MY FRIENDS.

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (2)

Speaking of inappropriate jokes, we were at my sister-in-law’swedding reception last week, and I went over to Nana and Bumpa (Eric’s 85-year-old grandparents) to get them on the dance floor. Uptown Funk was playing. I was singing. The first time I said“Uptown funk don’t give it to you,” Nana gives me this shocked look and says, “Oh!” with her mouth hanging open. “No, no, no, Nana, FUNK, not the other one, you know, funk, like funky music.”It was a lost cause from the start.

This recipe for Lemon Curd is so tart and creamy!

What is lemon curd?

Lemon curd is a smooth, sweet, buttery lemon spread. It’s made with four simple ingredients: lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and butter. The consistency is like pudding, but it’s less creamy. It’s cooked (no raw eggs) and usually served cool or cold on top of or inside other things (like gingerbread, toast, or cupcakes). I personally eat it warm, with a spoon (and put it on everything in my kitchen).

Now, have you bought lemon curd at the store? That stuff is like pure corn syrup plus gelatin I think, and I’m not even talking about the cheap brands. The homemade stuff is absolutely incomparable. It is perfectly tart and creamy and gives you that little zing in your mouth that is a must for any citrus dessert.

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (3)

It’s a super easy recipe, too. The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down in the fridge, although I certainly wouldn’t say no to a nice hot spoonful of lemon curd.

Best Lemon Curd ingredients

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • Lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
  • Sugar
  • Eggs (7)
  • Butter

How to Make Lemon Curd

Here’s a quick overview of how to make this recipe. Full instructions can be found in the recipe card below!

  1. In a small saucepan, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat together 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks. Whisk very well.
  3. When the liquid on the stove is ready, slowly pour some of it into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly.
  4. Return the pot to the stove and add the rest of the eggs while stirring. Continue to whisk pretty constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When you drag your whisk over the top of the mixture, it should leave marks.
  5. Pour the curd through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir the chopped butter into the lemon curd until it’s completely melted.
  6. Press a square of plastic wrap directly on top of the lemon curd and refrigerate until cold, about 2-4 hours. Transfer to a Tupperware.
Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (4)
Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (5)
Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (6)

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe tips

How to thicken lemon curd

Lemon curd will thicken as it cooks. If you haven’t cooked it long enough (meaning that a whisk dragged across the top doesn’t leave marks), no worries–just keep cooking it. Remember that it will thicken more as it cools, especially after you’ve added the butter (a solid at room temperature).

Can you overcook lemon curd?

Yes, you definitely can. The goal is just to cook the lemon curd until a whisk dragged through the curd leaves marks. After that, you risk scrambling the eggs in it. Now, if you overcook your curd (you’ll know because it will have little lumpy egg bits in it), don’t despair! You can put it in the blender or food processor and blend it until the egg bits are gone.

Best Lemon Curd Recipe storage

Lemon curd can be kept in any regular storage container–plastic Tupperware, fancy jam jars you’ve washed and saved, whatever you like. Just keep it in the fridge so it won’t spoil.

How long does lemon curd last?

Lemon curd lasts for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. You can also freeze it for several months (perfect for early Christmas prep to give out as neighbor gifts).

Best Lemon Curd uses

I made several batches to get it just right, but originally I made itto use as a filling for a layer cake. Here are some other ideas:

  • spread it on toast
  • top ice cream
  • Use it as a filling in this Coconut Layer Cake
  • stuffed cupcakes
  • filled donuts
  • top pancakes
  • Throw it in a pie shell and top with whipped cream
  • fruit dip (I love it with bananas, strawberries, in a bowl with blueberries or raspberries)
  • Stir into plain Greek Yogurt and top with granola and/or fruit
  • Fold into whipped cream and top a cake with it
  • Top a bagel or breakfast pastry
  • Top a pavlova
  • Fill crepes
  • Spoon a bunch on top of softened cream cheese and serve with crackers
  • Spread on gingersnaps or these Soft Ginger Cookies

Good luck with all these suggestions, by the way. When I make lemon curd I hardly ever make it past thespoon.

Lemon Curd Recipe FAQs

What to serve with Lemon Curd?

Lemon curd is a great topping or filling for anytime you want some of that tart-sweet magic.

As a topping for:
Toast
Ice cream
Pancakes
Greek yogurt
Bagels
Pastries
Gingersnaps

As a filling in:
Coconut Layer Cake
Cupcakes
Donuts
Crepes
Soft Ginger Cookies

What is lemon curd made of?

Lemon curd is made of lemon juice, sugar, butter, and eggs. It’s a bit like a lemon custard.

Why did my lemon curd turn green?

Sometimes lemon curd can turn green if it comes into contact with something made of copper or aluminum. Weird right?? You can just avoid this by not using a pan or bowl made with those materials. If you didn’t use metal and your lemon curd turns green, it’s probably aliens. Or the lizard people.

Why does my lemon curd taste eggy?

If your lemon curd is eggy tasty (or eggy textured), you might have overcooked or scrambled the eggs. Also, you might not have stirred and whisked when you were supposed to. This is one of those recipes where it’s really helpful to read the instructions through before you begin (I’m sooo guilty of not doing that sometimes!). That way you’ll have all the tools you need at the ready to keep the eggs from rebelling on you.

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (7)

You might like these recipes too!

Gingerbread Pancakes << lemon curd would be AMAZING on top of these.

Meyer Lemon Tart << ever had Meyer lemons? They are so uniquely delicious!

Cinnamon Honey Butter << this makes another fantastic neighbor gift.

Raspberry Lemon-Glazed Muffins << if you love lemon like I do…you’re going to love these muffins.

Coconut Syrup << make an ultimate Hawaiian breakfast with this homemade syrup.

Lemon Curd Pound Cake from Cookies and Cups

Easy Lemon Tarts from Crazy for Crust

Lemon Curd Stuffed Cupcakesfrom A Side of Sweet

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Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (8)

Lemon Curd

4.93 from 14 votes

Prep: 5 minutes mins

Cook: 10 minutes mins

Chill Time: 2 hours hrs

Total: 2 hours hrs 15 minutes mins

Servings: 8 Servings

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (9)

Never buy lemon curd from the store again! No really, don't, it's gross. And making it at home is so easy! This lemon curd is creamy, tart, and perfect for topping your toast. Or topping your spoon.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, optional*
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice, fresh, 3-4 large lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs , + 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 stick, chopped**

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, stir together lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat together 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks. Whisk it very well.

  • When the liquid on the stove is ready, slowly pour some of it into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly. I usually pour in about half, but you can do more or less. This is called tempering the eggs.

  • Return the pot to the stove and add the rest of the eggs while stirring. If you don’t stir you may curdle your eggs.

  • Continue to whisk pretty constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When you drag your whisk over the top of the mixture, it should leave marks.

  • Pour the curd through a mesh strainer into a new bowl (or the same one, washed). Unless you are an expert curd maker, you will probably have a few solid egg pieces in there, which is totally okay! Just strain them out.

  • Stir the chopped butter into the lemon curd until it’s completely melted. This is a good time for a large spoonful of hot lemon curd.

  • Press a square of plastic wrap directly on top of the lemon curd. If you just cover the bowl, you will get a film on your curd.

  • Refrigerate until cold, about 2-4 hours. It will thicken up some as it cools.

  • Transfer to a tupperware. Keeps for 1-2 weeks.

Notes

*The lemon zest adds great flavor and will make it more tangy. If texture is more important to you than flavor and you are looking for a super creamy lemon curd, then leave it out.

**I’ve seen similar recipes that call for up to 8 tablespoons of butter. Go for it! I think it tastes great with 4 tablespoons, but I’m not one to turn down extra butter…

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Calories: 155

Keyword: curd, lemon

Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Categorized as , Breakfast, , Dessert, Sweet Breakfast

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Easy Lemon Curd Recipe from The Food Charlatan. (2024)

FAQs

How long is homemade lemon curd good for in the fridge? ›

The flavor also mellows a bit as it refrigerates. It's quite sour at this point but it gets creamier as it refrigerates. You can refrigerate the lemon curd for 1-2 weeks, OR freeze it for a few months.

Why didn't my lemon curd get thick? ›

If your lemon curd hasn't thickened, it may not have been heated enough. It can take up to 30 minutes of constant stirring to cook lemon curd, especially if it's a large batch. Remember that curd will thicken more once cooled.

How do you know when lemon curd is done? ›

I cook mine for about 2 minutes because I like thick lemon curd. Test the thickness by dipping the back of a spoon into your lemon curd and drag your finger across it. If it holds the shape without dripping off too quickly, it's done!

Why is my lemon curd not yellow? ›

Not using enough yolks

First, although the lemon juice provides hints of yellow, the deep golden color comes from the yolks. So, when you use a recipe that only uses whole eggs, your lemon curd will appear much lighter, because of the large amount of whites.

Does homemade lemon curd go bad? ›

Fresh lemon curd will keep for one to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Can I freeze leftover lemon curd? ›

Shelf Life: Prepared lemon curd can be frozen for up to 1 year without quality changes when thawed. To thaw, place container in a refrigerator at 40°F or lower for 24 hours before intended use. After thawing, consume within 4 weeks.

Why does my lemon curd taste weird? ›

A metallic aftertaste is usually the consequence of the lemon curd coming into contact with a metal (especially while it's hot). This could be a metal whisk, a metal bowl, a metal (or metal-coated) saucepan, or a metal sieve.

Does homemade lemon curd need to be refrigerated? ›

In a covered, airtight container for up to one week. It doesn't really freeze well. Lemon curd does contain eggs and dairy (butter), so I'd be ok leaving it out for the day if I plan on serving it, but anything overnight definitely would need to be refrigerated.

Why does my lemon curd taste eggy? ›

Although lemon curd uses egg yolks and/or egg whites, the final product shouldn't taste eggy. If it does, it may mean that you've overcooked your eggs. In saying that, traditional lemon curd does have a distinct after taste which doesn't sit well with some.

Does homemade lemon curd thicken as it cools? ›

Lemon curd always thickens as it cools so you may find that you end up with a lemon curd that's thicker than you hoped for. If this happens, the easiest way to thin it is to whisk in a little extra lemon juice (about ½ a teaspoon at a time as you don't want to add too much) until it is your desired consistency.

What is a good substitute for lemon curd? ›

If you don't want to use lemon curd then we would suggest using an alternative flavour of fruit curd. We have seen passionfruit, rhubarb and tart orange (or Seville orange) curds being sold online in the UK. All of these flavours would go well with summer berries.

Can you reheat lemon curd to thicken? ›

My lemon curd isn't thickening, what can I use, if anything, to thicken it? I would reheat it and cook it longer. If reheating doesn't work, you can try mixing up cornstarch with a little water, add it a bit at a time till it is where you want it.

What is the color code for lemon curd? ›

The RGB values for True Value Lemon Curd are 252, 227, 167 and the HEX code is #FCE3A7. The LRV for True Value Lemon Curd is 78.48. The LRV stands for Light Reflectance Value and measures the percentage of light that a color reflects. Learn more about Light Reflectance Values and using RGB and Hex codes for paint.

Why did my lemon curd have a metallic taste? ›

To prevent the curd from acquiring a metallic taste, make absolutely sure that all utensils coming into contact with it--bowls, whisk, saucepan, and strainer--are made of non-reactive stainless steel or glass. Since the tart pan has a removable bottom, it is more easily maneuvered when set on a cookie sheet.

Why did my lemon curd turn green? ›

If your lemon curd turned green, it likely had a reaction to something metal. Avoid using a copper or aluminum pan as those will react with the lemon juice and cause the discoloration in the lemon curd, and could even cause a slightly metallic aftertaste.

How many days homemade curd can be stored in fridge? ›

It can be stored at low temperatures (less than 5 degrees C) for several weeks. You can usually store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks but it becomes much stronger at the end of that period.

What is the shelf life of homemade curd in fridge? ›

Upto 5 days and 11 days dahi could be stored at room temperature (24°C) and refrigeration temperature (7°C) was in good condition with acceptable quality respectively. ... Products like yoghurt are known more for their therapeutic significance than nutritional value [11] .

How long can curd be stored in fridge? ›

Buy the freshest curds that you can. Eat what you want, but if you can't finish the bag right away or if you intend to keep it for a while put it into the refrigerator. Once refrigerated, you can usually keep the curds about two weeks.

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